Oral Health and Chronic Diseases: How are they connected?

Open your mouth and take a look in a mirror, if you’re lucky you’ll see a perfect set of teeth smiling at you. In reality, your teeth probably don’t look like they’ve come straight off the set of a Hollywood movie. However, that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your teeth!

But, not having the Hollywood smile doesn’t mean you should neglect your teeth, they’re more than just a means to chew your food.

The Link Between Oral Health & Chronic Disease

Your teeth have a network of nerves and blood vessels running close to them. This allows nutrients to be absorbed through your mouth and directly into your bloodstream. In fact, this can be a useful and efficient way of introducing painkillers and other medication into your system.

But, the downside of this network of your blood vessels is that any tooth disease or infection can easily spread into your bloodstream.

This is most likely to happen to the elderly, the young, and those with a compromised immune system. But, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen to anyone.

Don’t forget that oral health issues can affect anyone. The most common are cavities, gum disease, cleft lip, oral pain, oral and throat cancers.

Once the infection gets into your blood it has the opportunity to cause an array of issues in your body. Research suggests that gum disease is one of the biggest issues.

The infection associated with gum disease can travel towards your brain and cause inflammation at the base of your neck, this is effectively the same as meningitis and can lead to brain injury or even death.

Equally, the infection could travel towards the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and heart disease.

In both cases, the infection can damage the internal walls of the blood vessels. In practice this can take a long period of time but the end result is weakened vessel which increases the likelihood of a cardiovascular issue.

In other cases, the infection can actually cause sepsis, a poisoning of the blood that affects millions of people every year. If left untreated this can cause disability or death.

In short, not looking after your oral health can result in a wide variety of chronic diseases and even result in death.

Looking After Oral Health

The most important thing is to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day. You should also floss between your teeth and find a good dentist Alexandria, or wherever you live. It’s important to have a checkup at least once a year, although your dentist may recommend more regular ones.

You should also avoid consuming too many sugary drinks and snacks and especially avoid snacking between meals. Sugar coats your teeth and reacts with bacteria in your mouth to create acid, which attacks the enamel on your teeth. That’s the start of all your problems and one that can be easily avoided by reducing your sugar intake.